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Last Updated: Mar 9th, 2007 - 12:14:39 


In Goal
A hole is a hole is hole
By Mitch Korn
May 10, 2003, 15:59

Photo 1
We have all heard the announcers describe a goal that beat the goalie “through the five hole.” The fifth hole is the one between the goalie’s pads. Actually there are a total of six holes, or areas we isolate in order to teach goalies how to “close holes” (and to teach shooters how to score). So let's examine these six holes.

Hole No. 1
Low to the Stick Side
This used to be the most popular place to score a goal. The goalie can only rely on the quickness of his pad on a butterfly or half butterfly save. The goalie stick is a non-factor on a shot to this spot. Goalies actually become better with their stick glove leg than their catch glove leg because the stick cannot be a “crutch.”
More and more goalies are reaching down with their blocker to cover this area, or are dropping their paddle to cover this hole in tight.

Hole No. 2
Low to the Glove Side
Most goaltenders are much weaker with this leg, but rely on their stick and possible catch glove. Less goals are scored here than through hole No. 1, just because of the stick and glove options — not because of fast feet. Goalies must improve the use of their catch glove pad.

Hole No. 3
High Stick Side
This is an area that is very tough to score on. Because of the size of the stick glove, and its position, there is not a lot of room. It may look like net is available, but it is very hard, for example, for a righty to shoot the puck across his body over or past the stick glove of a goalie who holds his stick in his right hand.

Hole No. 4
High Catch Glove Side
This is an area players love to shoot at — and rightfully so because there are lots of goals scored here. However, more probably miss the net and hit the glass than are saved.
Goalies hurt themselves with their glove positioning in this hole. Often they drop their glove too low, or position the glove in front of their chest so the entire middle to top portion of the net of the glove side is wide open. (We call this a claw). Shooters with good hands often change the location of the puck and goalies rarely adjust, further emphasizing the “top shelf, glove side.”

Occasionally, too, goalies try to catch the puck “behind them” and cannot get it as it rises past them. Ideally, the catch glove should be above the waist, in front of the body, and extended out the side.

Photo 2
Hole No. 5
Between the Pads
Having watched years of professional hockey games and practice, I am convinced that the 5-hole is the most popular location to shoot. With the advent of the butterfly style, and the fact that the bigger the goalie, the larger the legs and the longer the way down, the 5-hole is a mouth-watering target of many shooters. Goalies are scored on here for one of the following reasons:

A sloppy stick. Shots on the ice, which should be stopped by the stick, end up going in because of a stick that is not disciplined enough to stay in position, covering the 5-hole.

Soft Kneedrops. Whether a full of half butterfly, pucks go “under” goalies because they drop softly.

Lack of flexibility. A goaltender needs to be able to leave his or her feet, flair out the pads, yet still keep the knees together. That does not always happen and pucks make it through.

Bad equipment. The goal pants need to “work with the pads” to close all holes when the goalie drops. If the pants are too small, or the pads too short, holes open.

Hole No. 6
The “New” 6 hole.
With the increased use of the butterfly and half butterfly, a new hole has become a target of many shooters, the one between the body and stick glove (see Photo No. 2). If the goaltender is not disciplined with his stick, or especially if the paddle of the goal stick is too long, this hole becomes very large and tough to defend.

This first appeared in the 03/1998 issue of Hockey Player Magazine®
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